Using Google more efficiently for your research

Posted by Greten on 03 May 2013 under Tools

I usually would like to avoid being biased towards any particular company and at first contemplated making this article about search engines in general, but aside from being the most-used, Google also have the most features and functions that can help you conduct research using the search engine. What I will discuss here is on how to use Google more efficiently but some of the tips and techniques explained here will also work on Yahoo, Bing and Ask.

In the early days of the internet, several search engines are known such as Infoseek, Lycos, MSN and Yahoo. Google was a minor player back then but tends to be favored by the academe. I do not recall any advertisement encouraging users to use Google, but it first came to my attention when my professor suggested using it while I was working on my college thesis. Apparently, Google became known through word of mouth among the academic circles. Since then, Google continues to grow until now it became the dominant search engine.

lens hovering above a globe with Google search results on the backgroundOur first instinct when we are trying to search for a certain information is to type keywords related to that information in the search textbox and then click the "Search" button. However, this method will sometimes yield results that we do not need, with the ones we actually need being buried several pages back of the search results or not included in the search results at all. To make the ones we need easy to access, we need to tweak our search a little.

This post is the introductory part of a serial post about using Google more efficiently in conducting an online research. Aside from relying on what is discussed in the Google search operator page, I personally conducted my own experiments on testing these operators and different possible combinations of keywords.

Please note that you can accomplish the same result without operators and syntaxes by using Google Advanced Search which provides you with several fields and other options. However, if you are doing research on Google more frequent than average (and yes teachers conduct more research than average person), it would be faster if you become accustomed in using these operators and syntaxes.

The succeeding parts of this serial post discuss the search operators and syntaxes in details.

My experiments were conducted on 26 April 2013 so there a chance that the results I mentioned here will be different in the future. Google changes its algorithm from time to time with the aim of providing us with better search results, although I personally find some recent changes, such as insisting on a particular spelling of a word, rather annoying.

Last updated on 09 Dec 2018.

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